(AM) CEEC Chair suggests “gracious division”

What can we expect of the Shared Conversations?

By Stephen Hofmeyr QC, Acting Chairman of the Church of England Evangelical Council, writing in the Church of England Newspaper.

The Church of England is embarking on a process of “shared conversations” which has two objectives. The first objective is ”˜to clarify how we can most effectively be a missionary church in a culture which has changed its view on human sexuality’. Amen! The revealed truth of the gospel is God’s truth for all people, everywhere, in every age. Therefore, the issue about being an effective missionary church is not about whether we are free to change what God has taught, but how to communicate God’s truth in a culture that has changed its view. In areas of human sexuality, that will require a communication of the Bible’s teaching about the body and sexuality which a generation ago would have gone without saying. So long as the scope of this first objective is correctly understood, it presents a wonderful opportunity. The second objective is ”˜to clarify the implications of what it means for the Church of England to live with ”¦ “good disagreement” on these issues’. What are the possible outcomes of these shared conversations?

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Civil Unions & Partnerships, Anglican Provinces, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), Ethics / Moral Theology, Marriage & Family, Same-sex blessings, Sexuality, Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion), Theology, Theology: Scripture

2 comments on “(AM) CEEC Chair suggests “gracious division”

  1. David Keller says:

    Any time anyone in church hierarchy starts talking about shared conversations, I cringe. Conversation to revisionists means, “I am so right that if I talk to/at you long enough you will eventually see the error of your reasoning. If you don’t get it after a while, just make sure the screen door doesn’t hit you in the buttock on your way out.”

  2. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “Nevertheless, the possibility remains that the gospel-minded will remain gospel-focussed; and that those who are not gospel-minded will not become gospel-focussed. As regards the second objective, there is the prospect of an “Anglican fudge”, some limited form of accommodation, just enough, it will be hoped, to maintain a united Church of England. … In my view, this is what many at the centre hope will be achieved. This is what the Archbishop of Canterbury has described as “good disagreement”.”[/blockquote]

    Precisely. There are many in CofE (and practically all of the hierarchy) whose supreme Gods are unity, fudge, and the maintenance of their own comfortable existence and position. That is true of many in the pews who view their church as little more than a country club with a religious flavour, through almost all bishops, and including the ABC himself. These people far outnumber the small number of liberal activists.

    [blockquote] “Well, the division may be messy or it may be ordered. It may be messy, as it has been in the USA and Canada, with litigation and extreme animosity; costly, divisive and an obstacle to gospel proclamation.” [/blockquote]

    Of course, that is what many in the CofE fear. But their belief that they can avoid it is based on illusion:

    [blockquote] “But what about an orderly and ordered division, marked by grace and humility and a real desire for good? The idea I have floated is parallel provinces with overlapping jurisdiction – one province for traditionalists, another province for change-advocates: …It will then be open to individual parishes to choose their natural home. New Diocesan structures will be developed and cathedrals, as necessary, will service both provinces.” [/blockquote]

    There will never be agreement to this because (a) the small number of liberals will never agree, and (b) the centrists will never agree. The CofE hierarchy have consistently shown that they intend to have one church, with dissident voices muffled or marginalised.

    Mind you, in a way it already is happening, but that is because some traditional parishes (including some of the largest) simply do not accept their bishop’s authority in any practical sense, and also because in the largest diocese (London) the bishop is a fair minded conservative. But when he goes, it is inevitable he will be replaced with a liberal or a waffly quasi-liberal like Justin Welby, and that will just bring on the conflict quicker.